It’s grim up North London


This week my training mainly took place in North London thanks to a very groovy sixties party held by the fabulous Martin Stone to celebrate his half century.

I had to do a 4 mile, 3 mile, 5 mile set. Fortunately Martin and Gary back on to the woodland way that runs from Finsbury Park up to Muswell Hill so I had  a beautiful green, shady and traffic-free start. And the weather was amazing.

I found there is one big difference between running in the Peak District and running in North London – apart from the hills. I had progressed as I would usually when passing fellow runners with a panting but cheerful “hello”, “nice day for it”. Nothing, no response, nada, tumbleweed rolling through a deserted cowboy town. “Ok,” I thought, “I am being too full on and I am a red, sweaty mess. I’ll ease up”. I downgraded to a wave, a semi-smile and a “hi”. Still nothing.

Discouraged, I came back to Martin to check out whether it was because I had the wrong haircut, clothes, trainers or what. He is a marathon runner so trains on this route all the time. ” Saying hello?! Talking of the weather?! Waving?! No, No and again No,” he said, “You have to master the North London Nod.”

The North London Nod goes something like this. You dip your head, purse your lips and raise your eyebrows to convey the general sentiment of, “Isn’t it ironic to be running in this sweaty fashion.”

Armed with my local info, I sallied out the next day to try it. My first couple of tries were a failure. I looked a bit like Benny Hill with his teeth out. By my third effort, I was starting to get results. Not a 100% success rate, but at least 50% reaction. Sometimes a nod back, sometimes just  a raised eyebrow, and from one lovely couple who were eating their sarnies on a bench a whole wave and a “hello”. I felt that I had arrived!

And one massive bonus of the route, I worked out my five miler to end at the Crouch End Lido for a swim. Bliss!

Training this week: 3 miles, 3 miles, 4 miles, 5 miles.


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